Motti Wilhelm

Al tirah! Have no fear!

A fearless Rabbi Levi Wilhelm shakes a gragger at the Megillah reading of Chabad Southwest Las Vegas. (courtesy)
A fearless Rabbi Levi Wilhelm shakes a gragger at the Megillah reading of Chabad Southwest Las Vegas. (courtesy)

As a one-sided narrative grips the world, a generation is being taught false history, and our staunchest defenders are concerned with the polls, how can we not be afraid?

There is a “secret mantra” we have been using for thousands of years: Al Tirah” Have no fear!

When the Jews stand before a raging sea, Hashem says, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm, and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today.” (Exodus 14:13)

As we are about to enter the land of Israel, we are told: “Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you.” (Deuteronomy 3:22)

And famously, we echo the words of King David: “Even when I walk in the valley of darkness, I will fear no evil, for You are with me..” (Psalm 23)

Throughout the generations, “Al Tirah” – have no fear was one of the first things a child was taught. When the Baal Shem Tov was only five years old, his father called him to his deathbed and said: “Yisrolik, have no fear of anything, only of God Alone. And love every Jew with the entire depth of your heart.”

Gradually, the education continued to explain that Hashem is with us, and our maker carries us. He who made us continues to sustain us.

The Midrash relates that as soon as Haman’s decree of genocide was sealed, Mordechai followed three children coming from their studies:

Upon reaching the children he asked them, “Recite for me your verse you were taught today.”

The first child replied, “Do not fear sudden terror nor the destruction of the wicked when it comes.” (Proverbs 3:25)

Said the second child, “I read today, and with this verse, I left school, ‘Devise a plot, but it will be foiled, speak a word, but it will not stand, for Hashem is with us.’” (Isaiah 8:10)

The third child answered, “Until your old age, I am unchanged, and until your hoary years, I will carry you; I made you, and I will bear you, I will carry you, and I will deliver you.” (Isaiah 46:4)

When Mordechai heard this, he laughed and was overjoyed. Mordechai was heartened knowing that when in a single moment the entire world became unsafe and unwelcoming to the Jew, children were still taking home the message “Al Tirah”, Have no fear for Hashem is with us.

Indeed, he was. Happy Purim.

* * *

I encourage you to include the Al Tirah “Have no Fear” prayer to your daily regiment. It takes 42 seconds and creates a mind-shift. The prayer and melody is linked here 

About the Author
Rabbi Motti Wilhelm received his diploma of Talmudic Studies from the Rabbinical College of Australia & New Zealand in 2003 and was ordained as a rabbi by the Rabbinical College of America and Israel’s former chief Rabbi Mordecha Eliyahu in 2004. He was the editor of Kovetz Ohelei Torah, a respected Journal of Talmudic essays. He lectures on Talmudic Law, Medical Ethics and a wide array of Jewish subjects and has led services in the United States, Canada, Africa and Australia. His video blog Rabbi Motti's Minute is highly popular as are his weekly emails. Rabbi Wilhelm and his wife Mimi lead Chabad SW Portland as Shluchim of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
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